Keeping Bosses from Making Unethical Requests
If you’re uncomfortable with some of the suggestions (or commands) that your supervisor gives you, you might want to put a cross or a Buddha in your workstation.
A study done at Northwestern University’s School of Management found that placing articles that indicate belief in ethical behavior near you might have a positive effect on how morally compromised bosses treat you.
Researchers surveyed 104 boss-subordinate pairs from various organizations in India, where religious tokens are commonly placed in desk areas. Subordinates who displayed moral symbols -- pictures of Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna, or rosary beads -- were more likely to be considered employees with high moral character.
As such, they were less likely to be placed in ethically compromising situations, even if their supervisors practiced a different religion.
The study team hopes the findings help workers avoid repercussions from a boss for refusing to partake in the unethical behavior -- or better still, prevent the morally compromising situation from happening in the first place.
They believe that giving subordinates the power to influence behavior in the office from the bottom up will prove to be key to improving overall workplace ethics.